Q&A / 

Prevent Ice Dam Leaks Grace Ice & Water Shield®

Tim Carter shows how he prevents water from leaking into his own home using Grace Ice & Water Shield®. This is a product Tim has used for years.

Below is a link to Amazon for one of the Grace Ice & Water Shield® products.


8 Responses to Prevent Ice Dam Leaks Grace Ice & Water Shield®

  1. Thanks for the tip about Grace Ice & Water Shield product. I don't understand why don't roofers suggest these things. They know that ice dams happen. They could even make more money by telling us home owners about such things. So, again, thank you for letting me know. I have made a note in my "home hints" list under the "roof" category.

  2. Tim,
    As you know, I am an architect in NJ, and I agree, Grace Ice and Watershield is the gold standard for roof underlayments. However, it is most often used in NJ for the first 3 ft up from the gutter and out from each side of a roof valley. Your suggestion to use it for the entire roof would certainly cover all bases. I know pricing is not part of your research. Therefore, I am hoping some of your contractor subscribers will add specifics to the cost differential per square foot installed costs of Grace Ice and Watershield vs more standard 15# building paper underlayment. I am thinking it may be the least expensive insurance for the prevention of roof leaks out there.

    Thanks for your timely and informative newsletters and videos.

    Take care and stay safe,

  3. Tim you be careful doing that....if you fell into that pile of snow you could be buried in it....you need someone there with you to at least be there to dig you out and call 911.....

  4. Tim, you failed to mention the cause of ice dams, and amoung them are improper roof venting, improper soffit venting, and inadequate attic insulation. I'm sure there are more, but suspect these are the major issues. With major snow buildup, a ridge vent for the roof will likely be blocked allowing any heat escaping to the attic to melt snow nearest the roof and contribute to the daming - plus, this is the likely source of water that backs up into the interior of the home. Perhaps a gable vent for those homes with gable style roofs would help, assuming they have none. The most likely cause is heat escaping the home because of inadequate insulation. The soffit and roof venting is supposed to keep the decking under the roof at the same temperature as the outside which prevents the melt. I agree that weather and ice shield should be used, in fact, the International Residential Code applicable to most areas requires it (or similar product) on at least a portion of your
    roof. Ex: a layer is required on roof edge to go at least 1' above the wall line, a layer I required in valleys, a layer is required around all roof penetrations (4' square around plumbing & other vents), and around and above all chimneys to include wrapping the vertical sides. In snow prone areas such as yours, I agree that the cost to cover the entire decking is a wise choice, but also perceive you should address proper insulation and venting.

    • Mike,

      I've got several columns and past videos all about the causes of ice dams. That wasn't the point of this video. This was to show how to prevent leaks. Just type: ice dam into my search engine and see what comes up. Watch my other Ice Dam video for sure.

  5. Tim,
    Installing ice and water shield at certain areas of the roof is code in most municipalities. However, without attacking the real culprit, air leakage, by air sealing the attic to home bypasses, ice and water shield is a Band-Aid. A reputable energy auditor can identify air bypasses with pressurization diagnostics utilizing a blower door.

    • Christopher,

      I pretty much disagree with you about air leakage being the "real culprit" as you say above. It's all about low-level infrared radiation that's coming through the insulation. I prove this in my other Ice Dam video here at the website. I can build a house with an attic that emits virtually no air from the heated spaces and still get ice dams a foot high.

      Ice dams also are a direct result of solar heating of the snow pack and then the melt water coming into contact with roof surfaces that are below the freezing temperature of water that could be in the shade. Air leakage is a factor no doubt, and in older homes it could be a primary driver.

  6. Tim I'm in an area of KY right where it intersects OH and WV. (About 2 1/2 hours from your old hometown) A couple weeks ago I had a customer that we put a roof on for in 2009 call me on a Saturday with a horrible leak. This roof was installed with ice and water shield around the perimeter, in valleys, along roof/sidewall intersections and all penetrations and the rest covered with a high end synthetic underlayment. It also got premium slate looking shingles with an 8" exposure. It is a very large home (90 square roof) with a 10/12 pitch hip roof. as many high pitch hip roof houses do they finished a room in the attic space to make a small 3rd floor. This roof extends all the way down to being just a one story over the master bedroom on one end. This master bedroom is insulated considerably more than the upper portion of the roof. There was zero water getting to the gutter and a 12 inch ice dam in the middle of that lower roof. (Not near the edge) This is the first time in the last 20 years I've seen an instance where ice & water shield would have been useful on the entire surface. You bet I'm a believer now!I've always used it on pitches below 4/12 but it would have been way cheaper than these homeowners having to replace the entire bedroom ceiling!

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